Reno: The Best Place to Live (and Play)
When Erik and I were striving to create a home for ourselves, first separately and then together, we faced a couple of challenges.
First, we are both desert rats. We love big skies, open spaces, ghost towns and lonesome places. We fantasize about living “out in the middle of nowhere.” However, Erik grew up in Chicago and is a self-described “urban rodent.” And then there is the little matter of earning a living ….
As a professional artist, Erik longs to be part of a vibrant arts community, and close to his markets (read: people willing to buy his paintings). As a nurse, I need to live near enough humans to generate a need for my services, and preferably near a hospital.
Well, guess what? There is a city where the art scene is vibrant and wacky, where there are concerts, shows and outdoor activities galore to feed any palate, and where you can leave downtown and be in the heart of the Sierra or on a secluded antelope-dotted plain in under an hour! And with rapidly expanding employment opportunities to boot! From our home in the downtown Riverside Artist Lofts, we look forward to sharing some of our favorite places and activities with you in and around the Biggest Little City.
Hike of the Month: Hunter Creek
For quick access and downright outstanding scenery, you can’t beat the Hunter Creek trail, an easy 15 minute drive from downtown Reno. This fantastic 6 mile round trip hike leads up an aspen- and cottonwood-lined canyon, through spectacular rock formations, lush riparian zones, and groves of fir and cedar to something you would never expect to see this close to Reno-a waterfall! This hike is a nature paradise not only for its ecological variety, but for the sheer physical pleasure of jumping streams, scrambling over scree slopes, and winding through shady forests. Which explains why all the kids we see on this trail are beaming with pleasure. Just make sure to bring water, and we recommend a morning or evening approach to beat the heat. For more information on this and other hikes in the Reno area, pick up the newly released trail guide, 50 of the Best Strolls, Walks, and Hikes around Reno, by Mike White with photography by Mark Vollmer and published by the University of Nevada Press.
Everyone in Northern Nevada knows that July is not July in Reno — it’s ARTOWN! Excitement is really ramping up for this year’s annual month-long mega-event, featuring over 500 events and 100 workshops, 70% of them free! There is never an excuse to sit inside on any July evening and complain of boredom; get out the door on foot, bike, train, bus, or car if you have to, and get thee to artown! Activities include theater, visual art, music,
dance, history tours, film, literary arts, etc. etc. etc. Genres range from funk to cowboy poetry. There is even a Chalk Art Festival (July 8 &9) and a 24-hour Mural Marathon (July 14 & 15). If you can’t find something you like at Artown, you’re probably not human. Check the schedule online or, even better, get your hands on the famed and artistically designed (and free) Artown Book.
Our favorite annual art event, NadaDada (“Get a Room, Make a Show”), is being reborn this year as NADAville, with headquarters at the Morris Burner Hostel on East 4th Street and with additional spaces/installations at the Potentialist Workshop Gallery on 2nd St. Reno’s NadaDada artists invite you to tour a temporary enclave of visual, performance and installation art, July 20 through 23, where you can “visit rooms, spaces and places to encounter the absurd, amazing and thought provoking artistic creations of citizens of NADAville”. See their website for a full listing of installations and a video highlighting last year’s event.
Food & Drink
If you’re into the food truck scene, but could forego the 12-hour drive to Portlandia, by all means hit up Reno Street Food Fridays, at Idlewild Park Friday nights all summer. We love the fun social environment, eating outdoors, and the incredible variety (yes, variety, in Reno). Families with kids can all find something they like and still eat together, which is really nice.
Finally, speaking of outdoors and a food truck vibe, The Eddy is the newest sensation in Reno, on Sierra Street right on the Truckee River (hence the name). The Eddy is a container park, the likes of which have never been seen before in these parts. We think it is very cool the way energetic and entrepreneurial (and mostly young) people are revitalizing the downtown and Midtown areas of Reno, and this project is a case in point. The originators of this project took an abandoned downtown gravel lot and turned it into a vibrant attraction for couples, college students, and even families! There are tons of games, cool sculptures, and even an art booth which is manned by residents of the Riverside Artist Lofts.
— Amy Meeks